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StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation recognizes the deadly impact of diabetes on Guamanians, calls for immediate action


StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation recognizes the deadly impact of diabetes on Guamanians, calls for immediate action

StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation launches campaign for accurate data to inform public health interventions for diabetes epidemic on Guam

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- There is a dire diabetes epidemic on the island of Guam, a United States territory, and to add to the devastation, there are minimal data to inform solutions. StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2015, aims to address this gap with the launch of its first major campaign: a call to raise awareness in the mainland United States about the need for a central diabetes registry on Guam.

Based on the best available data, nearly 12% of all adults in Guam have diabetes, with prevalence rising to 16.2% among Guamanians of Chamorro heritage and the next generation is at risk as well, with childhood obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes, at 23%. Recognizing the epidemic is not enough to facilitate public health interventions; data, research and analyses are necessary to understand diabetes' prevalence on the island, especially for those with Chamorro descent. Unfortunately, this data is not readily available and up to date.

With the limited data available, we know:

  • 12% of all adults in Guam have diabetes  
  • Among adults of Chamorro heritage, diabetes prevalence is even higher, at 16.2% 
  • Overall, native Pacific Islanders experience diabetes at over three times the rate of white adult Americans (20.6% compared to 6.8%) 
  • Obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes, affects almost 22% of Chamorros  
  • Diabetes is the 4th-leading cause of death on Guam 
  • The next generation is at risk, too: Guam has a higher rate of childhood obesity than the mainland U.S. at 23% 

StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation has developed a campaign to bring awareness of this epidemic to the mainland United States, in hopes of gaining the attention of people with the ability to help, such as the CDC and the United States government. This mission is in conjunction with the goals of the Guam Diabetes Control Coalition, of which StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation is a proud member. The Guam Diabetes Control Coalition has one vision: for Guam to be freed from the burden of diabetes.

"StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation is launching a campaign to raise awareness around the lack of data for diabetes and obesity in Guam," says Patricia Camacho-Hughes, Executive Director of StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation. "The people of Guam are American citizens and deserve to be considered in disease analyses. The more people know about the epidemic, the more they can provide the help that is desperately needed."

The campaign aims to collaborate with other Chamorro groups in the mainland to create a petition calling on the CDC to administer accurate research and data sharing. The petition will also call on the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to gain support from within the government. There is no blanket solution to a diabetes epidemic, solutions must be specific to the people of the island. The signed petition will be presented to Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, who is supporting the efforts to raise awareness of the epidemic.

"Without culturally sensitive data, we cannot generate successful treatments. Collecting useful data must be a joint collaborative," says Chen Mack, founder of StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation. "With analyses provided by the CDC specific to Guam and the Chamorro people, we have the potential to prevent further expansion of the epidemic while also providing disease management."

To achieve a diabetes-free Guam, diabetes policy, public health interventions and early health promotion and prevention must be provided. These resources rely on data, which is unavailable. StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation is committed to closing these gaps in knowledge and bringing resources and education to Guam. To support their cause, sign their petition here!

Samantha Greenwood
(202) 591-4047


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SOURCE StayWell Guam Diabetes Foundation

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